The other day I instigated a discussion on Facebook by posting a comment about how the police can arrest you for no charge other than resisting arrest. In other words, having no cause to arrest you in the first place, the police can place you under arrest anyway. If you do anything other than comply with their unlawful arrest you can be charged with resisting arrest. What started the comments flowing was the fact that I ended my comment with “great country, huh?”
A person I consider a friend and someone for whom I have great respect replied, in essence, that if I didn’t think America was great I should consider finding a better place to live. Basically, love it or leave it; which is the response I would have given about 5 years ago or so. But my thought process has changed.
I do love this nation. I love my country. But my country is not the government, or the land upon which we live. It is not the politics. It’s not Democrats or Republicans. It’s not even really the people. It’s an idea. America alone is (or was) founded on an outlandish notion. In an age where kings were common and their divine right to rule was unquestionable, we proposed that all men were created equally.
I understand the difficulty some people have rectifying that statement with slavery, but my intent here today is to discuss the nation we live in and whether it is great or not. I’ll leave the discussion of slavery to another day.
We were founded on principles of liberty and equality in the eyes of the law. Politicians were public servants. We had liberty because the government feared the people, as the famous quote says. None of these things is true today.
Our nation is a concept, not a landmass. One need not “find a better country” in order to recognize we have strayed from the path. I do not compare The United States to Mexico or Cuba and find it lacking. I compare The United States as it is to The United States as it could be, and should have been, and find it lacking.
The rights found in our founding documents are disappearing before our eyes. Our leaders, sent to Washington and various statehouses all across this nation to do the people’s will, instead tell the people what they *will* do. To my mind, this is a problem.
Some people refer to what I am doing by bringing these issues to the attention of others, and writing about them, as “bitching”. While I do not fancy myself as some sort of historical figure, this is akin in many ways to saying that Paul Revere was bitching about the British coming.
For those of us with children, the struggle to preserve the rights and privileges past generations enjoyed takes on greater importance. It is not simply my future I am concerned about. I have two daughters growing up in a nation with serious issues. It is my duty to address them.
My friend Andrew claims that the things I concern myself with have always been problems, I am simply becoming aware of them. But this is demonstrably untrue.
Yes, police brutality has always been an issue. But full scale SWAT raids for stolen laptops, the issuance of warrants, and passing bad checks, is a new thing. The facts and figures are available in the book, “Rise of the Warrior Cop”.
Yes, government overreach has always been an issue. But with the passage of the Patriot Act and the HDAA we have taken giant steps down the road to tyranny. Since 9-11 we have systematically traded freedom for security, and as the writer states, we deserve neither.
We have scores of agencies full of unelected bureaucrats publishing thousands of pages of regulations annually. This too is a relatively new in the history of our nation. The day to day actions, movements, conversations and thoughts of the average citizen are being dictated, monitored, and punished.
Reason and the application of logic and/or common sense are nearly entirely gone, as highlighted in this article about a man facing jail time for failure to pay child support for a child he has proven is not his.
The FDA is shutting down family farms. The EPA is attempting to regulate energy prices through the roof. The liberals that push for carbon taxes, ostensibly because they care about the environment are in court as we speak attempting to shut down a proposed windmill farm in Nantucket Sound.
Our leaders no longer even care enough to try to cover their lies. They boldly state untruths publicly, while the information disproving their claims scrolls beneath them on the television screen…and millions still believe them.
We have issues. Standing idly by simply accepting what’s happening while doing nothing about it is not an option for me.
Is The United States the greatest country on Earth? I believe it is. Is it as great as it could have been, should have been, and still could be?
Not even close.